Tuesday, June 21, 2011

From Such Great Heights

Professor Coleman opened class today by asking us what movies we researched for homework. After a vote, my suggestion for “Blood Diamond” won with 20 votes. I explained to the class that the movie had economic concepts of supply, demand, and black markets.

We were assigned some hefty homework. One part of it is bookwork and the other is a worksheet that requires us to look up key terms and write down definitions. Professor Coleman and John the TA told us not to stress about the homework. It is assigned for our benefit only. They told us that it is better for us to retain the information from doing homework rather than completing the assignment on cruise control.

We were also assigned a group project for the end of our course. So far, I am in a group with Andrew and Jose (I sit next to both of them in class). Some topic suggestions are globalization, budget deficits in the United States, the stimulus package, bank bailouts, and the gold standard.

Today’s focus in class was on models. We learned how to graph different economic situations. Linear and nonlinear graphs represented opportunity costs. I read more on the graphs after class just to solidify the concept. Pictures really do speak a thousand words. I am understanding macroeconomics more and more. Tomorrow we are going over the graphs for supply and demand.

After class, I went up to the Science Library (or Sci Li in Brown jargon) to put money on my ID card to do my laundry. There was detergent up for grabs in the laundry room. I put a huge load of colors in before heading off to explore more of the Brown campus with Rachel.

Rachel, Steph, and I went to grab “Pizza in a Cone”, a delicacy in Providence. We went for the buy two, get one free deal. I got a Fire Cone. It was spicy and delicious. I also made friends with the pizza cone salesman.

Afterwards, Rachel and I checked out the greenhouse and the Episcopal Church on campus. The church was very dark but open for visitors. We both lit candles for people in our thoughts before we left to scale the Sci Li.

At 6:00PM, the Jameson basement floor group (aka 007s) met at Sayles Hall for a campus scavenger hunt. We were competing against 7 other floor groups. We had to take pictures of:

-Two bear statues


-A squirrel

-the Van Winkle Gates

-The Marc Aurelius Statue

-The Pembroke Seal

-The Stairway to Heaven (Nobody knew where this was, but apparently it’s the Grad Center)

- A waffle in the waffle-maker at the V-Dub (Verney-Wooley Dining Hall)

-3 of the 6 Brown Libraries

-50 rubber ducks (they were on display on Thayer Street)

-A Brown police officer

Here’s the catch. One member from each team had to be in each photo in the scavenger hunt. Guess who that one person was for 007? Our team ran through the entire campus searching for everything on the list. We talked to students and others on campus. I had to run after my team member with the camera, Ellen Paik, who is in track and field. We were booking it! I also ran into Ms. Larson during the hunt! She was headed to the movie theater on Thayer Street, but I think she misses Cohort #1. We miss her too!

An hour later, we ran back to Sayles hall to conclude the hunt. We won! We had the most items on the list. Ellen and I collapsed on the grass as our RA congratulated us. Mikalei told us that our prize was a pizza/Ben and Jerry’s ice cream party for our floor. I don’t know when this will be, but I will document the event.

After the hype, I relaxed with my Brown buddies, Rachel and Scott. They are hilarious.
I am busying myself with homework and reading my textbook. Many girls from my floor are socializing in Mikalei’s room and I can hear them from my open window. Although I’ve only been at Brown University for 3 days, it seems like 3 weeks already. We are already creating strong friendships and families here. I will be down and out after my second shower of the day. Until tomorrow!

What's V-W?

I noticed this morning that I had familiarized myself with the campus. The streets weren't as confusing to me anymore, and I didn't need a map any longer. I went to breakfast with Andrew and other friends. The dorm food is not bad at all, but it can be slightly repetitive.

Today was the first lab of the biotechnology course. It was a lot of trial and error, along with frustration. A lot of the students finished early, including Erinn. I was with one of the last groups to leave the lab room. The class is picking up pace, our test on Friday is on the names and faces of our classmates. Interesting, but an effective way to get everyone to know each other.

Directly after class, we eat lunch. Lunch was good, ate with classmates. Then, we went on Thayer Street to visit CVS Pharmacy, Urban Outfitters, and the Brown Bookstore. In the bookstore, we helped a new classmate, Patricia, buy her books.

After parting from everyone, I went to my dorm to take a shower because I felt extremely sweaty and nasty. Later, I went to the Main Green to do homework with friends. I failed to finish my assignment because we had to attend dinner.

Dinner was nice, as usual. We attended a yoga class after dinner. It was painful and funny, due to Andrew's incessant whining. The yoga instructor condescended upon us for our inflexibility.

After yoga, we went to the Science Library, where I finished my reading assignments. I strolled the university at night, came back to my room, and blogged.

The vending machines have touch screens.

First Time for Everything

I woke up today feeling a lot more prepared and confident after a day of the same routine. Almost as clockwork I got up, showered and did all the other necessary measures to get ready for class. Now that we have been given more to time to explore the campus, I have been able to find short cuts around the campus in order to manage my time more efficiently. In our macroeconomics class yesterday we learned that time is a resource and most likely the most valuable resource. So by being efficient with my time I am able to optimize one of my most essential resources. Breakfast today was standard, but also a great experience. It is always great to sit down and unwind through conversing with my friends. It is truly my pleasure to be a part of Brown Session one because not only is our cohort amazing, but the friends we make as well, are fantastic people.

We left breakfast and headed to our much anticipated class. Today’s class was very interesting because of the real world implications the lecture had. We talked about trade, and specialization in making certain goods. All though it is only our second day of class, it feels as if we have learned two weeks’ worth of material. In a sense the class is accelerated because we go for three hours a day, but still the learning process has been quite advantageous. We have a project coming up soon so I look forward to that. The assignment is to pick a debatable question/topic relating to macroeconomics and then research this in order to further your claim for or against the resolution. We will work in groups and present our findings to the class in about a 15 minute presentation. I think this is the most thrilling part of the class yet!

After class and lunch we all headed out to the main green on Brown’s campus in order to collectively do our homework; “a wise decision is made in the counsel of many.” So by working collectively we were able to make great strides on accomplishing our assigned tasks. After doing much work we all went to the dining all to eat dinner. Each dining experience has been unique in some shape or form, well today would be no different. I had quiche for dinner for the first time, and to my surprise it was quite delicious.

After dinner I also participated in yoga for the first time. It was actually not as easy as I thought. Frank and I seemed to be the laughing stock of the entire room, but we persevered through it and made the best of our situation. After stretching out our bodies we went to enhance our brain by studying and doing homework at the library. It was my first time in there as well. So I guess the theme today is there truly is a fist time for everything. I have done so many new things that I thought for certain I would not try.

Useful Lessons

Class began with a short informative speak about the equipment of the lab. Professor Hall did not go into much depth because she excepted us to ask questions and knew the information she would tell us would not be absorbed.

To practice pipetting, we conducted the first lab in our textbook. It required working with a P20, P200 and P1000 micropipettor (measures 1μl-20μl, 1μl-200μl and 10μl-1000μl respectfully) and solutions of different colored water. The first part of the lab was an exercise with the P20, the second part was an exercise with a P 1000, designed to develop skills with the micropipettor of various sizes. When I got to the last step of the first exercise, where I was directed to calibrate the micropipettor by picking up the amount collected in the reaction tube, all of the water did not go into the micropipettor. After doing the lab a second time and getting the same results, I asked our Professor. She explained that I was over pipetting the solution and was only supposed to go to the first, which I thought I did. I retried the experiment and managed to get all of the solution withdrawn from the reaction tube. I managed to complete the second part of the lab with minimal errors and moved onto the Protocol experiment.

The Protocol experiment was more complicated. It required denaturing calf thymus DNA with a hot then cold bath and referring back to the control, which was the first procedure of the lab, for any structural changes. The hot and cold bath broke the hydrogen bonds between complimentary nitrogen bases and would the effect would have been observed as thinner DNA strands; I did not see the effect of the enzyme because I did not have a control. We also mixed another DNA solution with DNase, which is an enzyme that cuts the DNA, to observe what effect the enzyme had on the DNA strands. I saw the effect from the enzyme as little particles floating in the solution, but I could not compare to see if I had the correct results because the first part of the lab did not work.

Since most students did not see results, Professor Hall wrote to us in an email that the experiment involving calf thymus DNA today will be repeated on Thursday. She wrote that the suppliers said the inconvenience may be due to a problem with the batch given to the laboratory. I am glad we get to redo the lab because I was one of the students that couldn’t see the DNA but a glass of cloudy water. I did learn how to see the DNA at the end of class, but I didn’t have time to do the entire lab with my newfound information from the helpfulness of my lab partner.

After class and lunch, some friends and I met at the green—main lawn area. It was finally time to start acting like college students and sit on the green. It was uncomfortable, and I managed to finish my reading assignment three hours after beginning. There were also many flies hovering around our circle of students. I did get to see what happened when I was outside the quadrangle of my housing area and staying relatively close to the center of campus. There was a student performing juggling, which I appreciate because I have no hand-eye coordination for throwing and catching a ball, and various groups that played sports or sat in a circle similar to my group’s.

Coming from dinner, Frank, Andrew, Kathleen, two other people, and I went to yoga. Yoga happens every week Mondays at 7:30 PM and Thursdays at 2 PM. Yoga was rescheduled to Tuesday at 6 PM, but I don’t know the reason why it was moved. When we walked through the door, the instructor had already started the session with a basic sitting position. We each grabbed our own mat and sat near the front as the instructor instructed us. Over the course of an hour we relieved our stress with a series of stretches that clam weary muscles. I thought I would fall asleep in with the positions—the music was soothing and the mat was comfortable—but I held my ground until the next stretch was called. By the time the session was over, I felt like I could run a mile or sleep—I think I prefer to sleep.

Tomorrow there is so much to do. I must pace myself before I do too much and I have no time for my obligations. I am glad I am learning this lesson this summer because in college students do not have time to have trial and error, and I do over exhaust myself.

Studious and Lithe Brownies

I have become an expert at finding my classroom and the dining hall, which are almost right next to each other.

For our second day of class, we learned about absolute and comparative advantages, the circular-flow diagram, and the production possibilities frontier. We also decided on a movie for our movie night next week and listed possible topics for our group projects. We were assigned assessment questions at the ends of chapters 1-3 and a worksheet about the financial crisis. I am enjoying the interesting topics we cover in class.

During lunch, my macroeconomics friend Emily and I sat next to Sal, a rising junior at Brown. We were surprised to hear that he was not part of Summer@Brown but in fact an undergraduate. We bombarded him with questions about his experience at the school. Some of the information he told us was similar to Grace’s and Amy’s stories, but he also provided a new perspective. Like me, he is from California but the Los Angeles area instead of the Bay Area. He told us it was difficult to adjust to the weather in Providence coming from a state with lovely year-round temperatures. I enjoyed “interviewing” Sal and bid him goodbye after we finished our meal.

I desperately wanted to nap after lunch, but for some reason, I had trouble falling asleep. Instead, I brought my homework to the Green and sat down with Erinn, Andrew, Frank and other friends I met: Kristina and Patricia who are in Frank and Erinn’s class and Rachelle and Emily who are in mine and Andrew’s class. We were actually productive for a while. Then we were forced to relocate because of the bugs hovering above our heads. Apparently they were attracted to us because they quickly found us in our new location. We eventually put down our work and began talking about movies and YouTube channels. Our study group headed over to dinner at 5 PM and was joined by Huiyang from China and Andrea from Vancouver, Canada. Dinner was enjoyable, and I was stuffed. I was more than ready to exercise it off during a session of yoga at 6 PM.

Yoga class was held at Sayles Hall, the building in which we checked in on our first day. I was later than the others because I had to run back to my dorm to change. I chose to wear my Yale shirt and received some glances on my way to Sayles Hall. When I walked in, everyone had started. The instructor welcomed me to grab a mat and join the fun. The hour was filled with continuous stretches and core workouts. Scattered around the room were experienced yoga ladies while the rest of us concentrated on the instructor to follow her every step. Frank and Andrew were two of the only three boys in a room packed with girls. I applaud them for sticking it out to the end. I really enjoyed the class and left the room feeling relaxed. I am looking forward to going back next week.

We were just in the Sciences Library working on our homework and in my case, blogging. I’ll try my best to sleep earlier tonight instead of my usual “past midnight” bedtime. I look forward to what lies ahead tomorrow!
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